Sarina Simon: Influences and Influencers | instructional design

instructional design

Screen Time, the New Digital Divide?

16 May 2018, Posted by Sarina Simon in Children's Media, Edtech, instructional design, kids' media

Years ago, when I left book publishing and began creating digital content, well-meaning folks worried that the digital divide would widen the achievement gap in US schools. We campaigned hard to get computers into all schools and libraries. We urged our parent companies to donate equipment. We volunteered to show teachers how to use computers in their classrooms. In short, we were vocal advocates both for equal access and Edtech. Nevertheless, despite our good intentions, for many years, access to computers and other devices was mostly limited to affluent families and school districts. Happily, times have changed—not enough to achieve…

Making A Difference

04 Apr 2018, Posted by Sarina Simon in Advice for Edtech Aspirants, Edtech, instructional design

I have been making edtech products for years. I think most of them are excellent, but I rarely have had the chance to measure or see their impact. When I developed consumer products it was easier to find out if users liked them. Sales figures, online reviews, and anecdotal feedback was readily available, but not so with products that are used in schools. Several years ago my company worked on creating courses for JA Academy, a complete online/offline curriculum for high school students. Written by a long time colleague (Laura Cohen), guided by Junior Achievement’s excellent instructional designers and product…

Augmented Reality to Increase User Engagement

24 Oct 2016, Posted by Sarina Simon in Children's Media, Distance Learning, Edtech, electronic books, English as a Second Language, instructional design, kids' media, Learning Science, Mobile App Development, Uncategorized

For some time now my colleagues, most of whom are younger and hipper than me, have been extolling the virtues of Augmented Reality.  And they are not alone.  Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, recently stated that he felt AR would be bigger than VR. And most market analysts agree that AR is going to become a huge market opportunity, topping $120 B by 2020. The recent success of Pokemon Go with 100MM downloads worldwide, has made consumers more aware of AR but some would argue that Pokemon Go does not really use AR technology.  That’s an argument that I can’t…

“The Big Short” – The Best Educational “Media” I’ve Seen In Long Time

26 Jan 2016, Posted by Sarina Simon in Advice for Edtech Aspirants, Children's Media, Distance Learning, Edtech, instructional design, Responding to RFPs, Software Engineering, women in technology

Margot Robbie explains sub-prime mortgages in the “Big Short“. Years ago I worked for the Walt Disney Company in their Educational “Media” group.  Our mandate was to create workbooks, filmstrips (yes, filmstrips) and films for the school market. Our goal was to bring the Disney “magic” to learning and we had plenty of good examples to lead the way. Walt Disney was a master communicator.  He knew how to introduce complicated concepts to the average guy and make them understandable and appealing. Of course, he also had large budgets to work with and amazing actors (including Mickey et al) to…

Virginia “Ginny” Rice: Pursuing Excellence and Having Fun Along the Way

05 Jan 2016, Posted by Sarina Simon in Advice for Aspiring Producers, Advice for Edtech Aspirants, Distance Learning, Edtech, Expert Interviews, instructional design, Learning Science, women in technology

Ginny Rice is an accidental entrepreneur, researcher, problem-solver and designer of programs for education, museums, business, and public information. Her clients have included the National Museum of American History, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Newseum, NIH, Philips Consumer Electronics, and a hôtelier in Vietnam.     1. Your technology roots go back to the early eighties when you   co-founded Lunaria, an “interactive media” company. Can you tell us a bit about the company and how it got started? My partners and I were working at an R&D company designing medical simulations for a start-up. When the founder ran out…

Bror Saxberg–Medicine’s Loss is Learning’s Gain

16 Sep 2014, Posted by Sarina Simon in Advice for Edtech Aspirants, Distance Learning, Edtech, Expert Interviews, instructional design, Learning Science

Bror Saxberg is the Chief Learning Officer for Kaplan, Inc., a worldwide learning provider of test preparation, higher education, workplace training, and English language learning. Bror has spent almost twenty years working at the intersection of technology, learning science, curriculum, and delivering new learning experiences at scale. Before his role at Kaplan, Inc., he helped found the virtual education company K12, Inc., and has held roles at Knowledge Universe, Dorling Kindersley, and McKinsey. 1. Your educational background is astounding.  You have a BS in Electrical Engineering, a BA in Mathematics, an MA in Mathematics, a PhD in Electrical Engineering and…

MC Desrosiers—Candid Comments From an Inspiring EdTech Innovator

03 Sep 2014, Posted by Sarina Simon in Advice for Aspiring Producers, Distance Learning, Edtech, Expert Interviews, instructional design, kids' media

Meet Mary Catherine Desrosiers (who everyone knows asMC).   MC has had an amazing 23+ year career in children’s and educational technology. She has started up and managed all aspects of companies’ core capabilities and has years of experience building teams, processes, and controls to facilitate rapid growth. Having said all that, her true love is innovating with a purpose. That is–customer centered design, development, and delivery of products, technology and instructional services that yield proven results. 1. You came to the Interactive industry with an MBA and started your career as a consultant at Booz Allen.  From there, you moved into…

Julie Hogenboom—From Books to Media to Tech

17 Jun 2014, Posted by Sarina Simon in Advice for Aspiring Producers, Editorial Expertise, Edtech, Expert Interviews, instructional design

Julie Hogenboom Julie Hogenboom is a content and marketing expert who transitioned from print to digital, with an interlude at Harvard on the way.   Julie and I met through friends at Disney (one of my former employers) and I knew immediately that she would have valuable insights to share.  Julie is currently an editorial director at Yahoo, focused on content marketing programs for global brand advertisers, such as Procter & Gamble.  Previously Julie had product and editorial oversight for the Disney Family portfolio of sites where she launched food, travel & parenting sites.  She has also worked as a content…

Instructional Design Lessons From Lima

21 Apr 2014, Posted by Sarina Simon in Distance Learning, Edtech, instructional design, Online Language Courses

When I first I started doing business in Peru, I enrolled in a Lima-based language school called El Sol. I dutifully attended private classes every afternoon for several weeks and was taught by a wonderful young woman who was able to make the lessons interesting for me. No rote curriculum for her—we talked about the latest government scandals (sometimes racy, but always head-shaking), recipes for divine Peruvian specialties, and my business interests (the internet and digital media, of course). Almost from day one, I learned vocabulary that I could use both at work and with my new Peruvian friends. I…